The game might not have been pretty at times, but the end result certainly was. After 60 minutes of football Saturday, the Tribe secured a sloppy, but comfortable, 31-0 victory over Towson, clinching its eighth win of the season and a likely postseason bid.
“You play in this league and get eight wins, I don’t see how they keep you out of the playoffs,” Head Coach Jimmye Laycock said. “But I’m certainly not content right now. We’re not folding it up, that’s for sure.”
Barring any unlikely circumstances, Laycock will be heading to the postseason for the eighth time in his 30-year career to cap the season. But there certainly is still plenty of work to do before then.
With two games remaining in the regular season, a wide-open CAA title race — which will lead to critical postseason seeding — is up for grabs. The Tribe hosts no. 8 New Hampshire Saturday before traveling to no. 4 Richmond a week later.
At stake is a CAA that has four teams currently tied at 8-1. Two more wins would secure the College one of four postseason FCS seeds, guaranteeing critical home games in at least the first two rounds of the playoffs.
“Going into the two biggest games of the year, we’re where we need to be,” junior linebacker Wes Steinman said. “We’re going to have our work cut out for us. We’re going to have to go out and execute and play error-free for sure.”
Currently sitting at 8-1, the College is even with Richmond, Villanova and New Hampshire, each with two games remaining. Richmond has a 6-1 conference mark, while the other three are at 5-1.
Villanova beat Richmond, but lost to New Hampshire. The College suffered an Oct. 3 defeat to Villanova, but can amend that in their final two games. New Hampshire still has to face Maine — a playoff squad a season ago — and the Tribe, while the Spiders host the College in their final contest. Villanova faces a dangerous no. 23 Delaware squad in the final week.
Sound convoluted? It is.
Any one of the four teams can take home the CAA title after what promises to be a wild two weeks. All are virtual locks for the postseason, but the home field advantage guaranteed from winning the CAA championship can make or break a postseason run.
To compound the situation, all four squads are ranked in the top-10 nationally, with three — the no. 5 Tribe, no. 3 Villanova and Richmond — in the top five.
The final two weeks of the College’s season will have a big impact on their postseason chances.
Win two games, and likely enter the postseason as the top team in the country and the no. 1 playoff seed. Win one, and hope for a first-round home game. Lose both, and get ready to hit the road in late November.
No matter what happens, we’ll find out a lot about this Tribe team over the next two weeks.
“It’s tempting [to think about], but we’ve got to take this thing day by day as we’ve done the whole season,” sophomore linebacker Jake Trantin said. “We can’t change now.”